This Is How The Divorce Process Works and How Long It Will Take

When it comes to divorce most would say they want the process to be over as soon as possible so they can move on with their lives. This inevitably leads everyone to ask “how long will it be until I am officially divorced from my spouse?” A great place to start is our Divorce Timeline, which can be found under the Tools tab on our website. However, we also want to give a more general overview of how long the process might take. The specific circumstances and complexity of your case will determine the timeline, but overall, this is what you can expect the process to look like.


When You First File-


Once you have filed a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the courts in your county, your spouse must be personally served.  Learn more about what to do if you are the one being served divorce papers.

Once your spouse is served, he or she has 21 days (35 for out of state) to file a response. If you and your spouse both want the divorce and sign a petition jointly, the Service/Response step can be ignored. Your spouse may also agree to waive service if you do not file jointly. Just because you sign jointly does not mean the process is complete, and you will still need to follow the rest of the requirements in the process.


Once Your Ex Is Served-


You have 42 days after the date of filing to set up an initial status conference with the court and submit your financial disclosures. The initial status conference is your first court appearance and is an informal way for both parties and the Court to get on the same page about dates and deadlines in your case. It depends on the county and jurisdiction that you are in as to whether they will schedule a time for your initial status conference automatically once you file, or if you or your attorney have to reach out to the court to schedule your own. The timing for this solely depends on your county’s court and its timeline. You also will need to have your financial disclosures submitted within that 42-day deadline as well.


After Initial Status Conference-


You have the option to file for Temporary Orders, which is only necessary if there is an immediate conflict that must be addressed while your case is ongoing. Temporary Orders can help with decision making, child support or spousal support, or who will live in the marital residence during the divorce process. Temporary orders will be replaced by permanent orders at the end of your case. A temporary orders hearing, which is a separate court date, must be set to decide this and it will extend your case.


Once you’ve had your initial status conference, you and your spouse are then required to attend mediation by the state of Colorado. Everyone who files for divorce in Colorado must attend mediation, with a few exceptions. In rare cases where the parties agree to every issue, it is possible to skip mediation, which would shorten your case. Additionally, you may request mediation be waived in cases of domestic violence.




Mediation is a formal settlement conference where the mediator (whom you hire) assists in trying to reach a full agreement between you and your ex. If mediation is successful, you will leave with a signed or partial settlement agreement. Then your attorneys draft the final agreements and file the documents with the court.


If mediation is not successful, you must either come up with a settlement or prepare to go to trial. If you need to go to trial, this must be scheduled with the court and the timing completely depends on their availability and timeline. This can extend your case; therefore, it is ideal to come up with agreements in mediation or a settlement.




Your divorce will be finalized once a judge issues a decree of dissolution of marriage which then severs the marriage, and you are no longer married.




If a party is not satisfied with the final decision made by the court, then an appeal can be made. There are specific time constraints around appeals, so you will want to speak with your attorney if you wish to appeal any part of your divorce decree.


You also may modify certain orders put in place by the courts if circumstances change after the final agreement has been made. Again, you will want to speak with your attorney if you would like to modify any documents or orders post-divorce.


Overall, it can be difficult to determine the exact length that it will take to finalize your divorce because every situation is different. Your timeline will depend on the specific circumstances and jurisdiction of your case.

If you have questions about your particular situation or would like to speak with an attorney today, contact us.

How Do I Pick the Right Attorney For Me?

One of the first questions you might ask yourself when you are searching for an attorney is “how do I know which attorney I’ll work the best with?” or “who will align with me and get me the best results in my case?” This is a very important question to consider because if you and your attorney don’t align then you might not be satisfied with their service or your end result. We never want that to be the case. Here are a few criteria to consider when deciding what attorney to hire to make sure that you and your attorney will be the best fit together.


Personality –

One of the most important factors to consider when deciding on hiring an attorney is how their personality would work with yours. When you are going through a divorce, you will end up sharing some of the most important and private details of your life with your attorney. Finding someone who complements you and can be a good partner is a key component to a successful attorney-client relationship.

Situation –

Another very important factor to consider when finding the right attorney is your specific situation. Every attorney has their strengths and areas of family law they practice more than others. If your case is very complex, you might look for an attorney who has more experience handling complex cases. On the other hand, if your situation is a very emotional one, it might be best to find a more empathetic attorney that you feel you can talk to and connect with for support. Another example would be if there is a lot of contention between you and your ex; in this case, you might be looking for a more aggressive attorney that will fight for you in times that get tense. Every situation is different, therefore it is key to find an attorney that will represent you in the way you need to be represented to achieve the most successful result in the end.

Cost –

Lastly, one thing to always keep in mind is how much you can afford when hiring an attorney. Of course, this always depends on each individual case and what you need the attorney to help you with. One of the most important factors that can affect the cost of your case is how contentious the separation is. If you and your ex can agree on most things through mediation, this will keep costs down compared to a case that goes to court. Another factor is what services you need legal help with. In some cases, you may only need unbundled legal services, but other cases will require full representation.


Finding an attorney with the right mix of personality, experience, and cost to help you with your divorce case is an important step in the divorce process. At Divorce Matters, we understand the importance of this decision. We match our clients with our attorneys based on all of these considerations, to ensure we deliver the best possible legal representation to every client.

If you’d like to get to know more about our attorneys visit their profiles here.

How Do Kids Change Divorce?

Conor Stewartson

When couples have children, a divorce becomes much more complicated. Even if you and your spouse are committed to an amicable separation, you will need to think through your post-divorce future for the sake of your children.

Come Up with a Parenting Plan

Children need continuing contact with both parents, and a judge will want to see a detailed parenting plan. At the outset, you should realize that a 50/50 custody split might not be realistic since one or both of you might decide to move. However, you should work out who the children will live with during the school year and decide:

  • When the non-custodial parent will have weekend visitation
  • How the children will split their summer vacations
  • Who the children will spend holidays and birthdays with
  • How you will transport the children to and from visitation, as well as when they will be dropped off and picked up


The more detailed your parenting plan, the better. Deciding issues ahead of time can reduce conflict later on. If you need help coming up with a parenting plan, you can consult with a divorce attorney who can advise you.

Discuss Child Support

Every child has a right to enjoy the fruits of his or her parent’s income. For this reason, child support is a right. The state has a formula it uses to calculate child support. You can visit the Department of Human Services website.

Child support also includes things like health insurance, medical expenses, and child care. Depending on your situation, you might need to pay extra to cover these costs. Parents should look at the total cost of raising the children and identify how they will pay those costs.

Stay on Your Best Behavior

It is perfectly understandable to feel depressed, angry and frustrated during a divorce. After all, a relationship you thought would last for life is now crashing to the ground. Nevertheless, parents must remain amicable if they want their children to flourish. This means never bad-mouthing your spouse when the children are around or trying to turn your children against their mother or father. Furthermore, trying to alienate your children could be used against you when it comes to determining custody.

Calm Guidance You Can Trust

Divorce is an emotionally turbulent time. You need trusted, experienced divorce attorneys in your corner. At Divorce Matters, our Lakewood divorce lawyers will help guide you through the divorce process step by step. Please contact us today to schedule your comprehensive, initial consultation.

Relocating With Children After Divorce

In this article we discuss the issue of relocating with children after a divorce or allocation of parental responsibilities order has already been entered. Relocating to another state with a child is a big decision, and unsurprisingly the courts take this issue very seriously. In addition to the usual statutory considerations as to what is in the best interests of the children, there are nine additional factors that the courts consider when determining how to resolve a relocation motion. Instead of going through all of the factors we’re going to highlight some of them that are unique to relocation matters that we have found to be critical, although it’s important to note that judges can give differing amounts of weight to any of these factors as they see fit. For a list of all the factors a court can consider see C.R.S. § 14-10-124(1.5)(I”“ XI) and C.R.S. § 14-10-129(2)(c)(I”“IX).

One of the most important considerations for any judge is the presence of family where the children currently reside versus where the proposed new location is. Most judges give significant weight to how the move will impact family ties. If children will be gaining family members to be around, especially if they have already established positive relationships with them, it can help boost the chances of being able to relocate. Conversely, a parent who wants to move children away from family members may experience more difficulty in being allowed to do so.

Courts also inquire into the educational opportunities for the children where the children currently reside versus where the proposed new location. School rankings, extracurricular activities and clubs, and advanced educational programs such as International Baccalaureate are just some of what can set one school apart from another. Whether you’re the parent who wants to move or you’re wanting to prevent the move, you’ll want to be intimately familiar with the educational opportunities at both locations.

Last, but certainly not least, we’ll examine the two factors at the very core of the move: Why does one parent want to move and why does the other parent want to prevent the move? For example, if Dad wants to move to sunny California because he’s tired of winter a court would be less likely to grant that than if Dad wanted to move to California because he found a new job that would double his salary and be closer to family. The way a court examines the reasons a parent objects to the proposed move is more nuanced than it appears at first glance. Although it may seem obvious that the reason a parent objects to the move is because they want to be near their children, this isn’t exactly what a court is looking for. Essentially, the judge wants to know the specific reasons as to why a parent thinks it will be worse for the children to move instead of simply objecting to the move because it would make the parent sad or simply to make the other parent’s life more difficult.

Planning and preparation is key to winning or defeating a motion to relocate. You can’t change the facts, but effectively planning out your case and strategizing at an early stage improves your chances of success. Hiring an attorney before filing or as soon as you are served with a motion gives you the best opportunity to put on an effective case.

If either you or your ex is planning on relocating and your children are involved, reach out to Divorce Matters today and our experienced attorneys can help guide you on what the next steps are.

Spring Cleaning After Divorce

Finally, spring has officially arrived! This is the time of year where you begin to uncover your patio furniture and open up the shutters and let the fresh air in. Spring cleaning is a great way to shake off the cobwebs of winter and make room for newness in your life. This can be particularly cathartic when you are dealing with divorce.

Divorce inevitably changes your financial situation. This is a great time to assess your finances as a whole and create a budget for the rest of the year. Take a look at your savings account and create a plan for adding money to this account as an emergency fund for a rainy day. Check your credit, clean up anything that is reported incorrectly, and create an action plan for improving your score. If you haven’t changed anything with your retirement plan recently it may be time to take another look and see if you want to change your investment strategy. Taking control of your finances is a great way to empower yourself and to gain control of your future.

Another area of your life you can try and improve is your physical and mental health. It’s important to make sure you are taking care of yourself and sometimes this can fall by the wayside, especially when you are going through divorce. Now that the weather is turning warmer, get outside and get some physical activity in! This can be incredibly beneficial for you physically but it also offers other important mental health benefits. Studies show that physical activity can relieve stress, boost your overall mood, and help you sleep better.

And finally, take some time to clean your home in traditional spring cleaning fashion. Make use of this time to get rid of things you no longer need so you can make way for new things. Deep clean everything and open up your windows to the fresh air. Just the act of cleaning is often stress-reducing and when you’re done you’ll have knocked spring cleaning off of your to-do list.

Volunteer Day with Knights of Heroes

Working together with non-profits within our Colorado community is important to our Divorce Matters team. One of the charities that our firm is involved with is Knights of Heroes, a group that hosts families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty. They provide spring and summer camps where their volunteers mentor the children of these families.
A group of us spent a day up in the mountains at the Knights of Heroes camp helping them prepare for their spring session. We had a blast helping them get ready and are proud to support Knights of Heroes. To learn more about this amazing organization visit them here.

Your Legal Rights if You’re Not Married

In general, married couples tend to have more rights and benefits than couples who are not married. Without a marriage certificate, couples often have no rights when it comes to legal, medical or financial decisions for the other party. Even if you live together for decades and consider, you won’t be automatically considered husband and wife for legal purposes unless you take certain actions to protect your rights beforehand. Should one of you die, assets are left to the person’s parents and siblings.

However, this does not mean that you have to get married against your wishes just to get the protection you desire. Colorado allows you to enter a common law marriage without actually getting married. If you and your partner present yourselves as husband and wife, your relationship may be recognized as a marriage to some degree. To fully protect your legal rights, though, you need to be proactive and take advantage of the legal documents available to you.

Rights of Unmarried Couples

In the event that something happens to you or your partner, you’ll want to take the appropriate steps to make sure you are both protected. Otherwise, a breakup or death could leave either party without the property they were hoping to receive.

One thing you might want to consider is a cohabitation agreement. This outlines who pays for what expenses and what will happen to expenses or property should you break up. This agreement will also outline who will move out and what will happen to the home you live in. Unmarried couples have a disadvantage because they don’t have divorce court to protect their assets like married couples do.

If you are unmarried, it’s important to have a will in place. If you were to die without one, state law would give your assets to your blood relatives””namely, any children, parents or siblings. Your partner would receive nothing. With a will in place, though, you can designate where your assets will go upon your death.

Rights of Unmarried Couples With Children

When a couple has children and decides to break up, the mother has the advantage. In some cases, courts will rule in favor of the mother when it comes to custody issues; however, this is not always the case.

When a couple is married, it is automatically assumed that the husband is the father. This is not the case with unmarried couples. An unmarried father must establish paternity by adding his name to the child’s birth certificate and signing an Acknowledgement of Paternity Affidavit. Once paternity is established, the father will be able to seek custody of the child. Of course, in turn, he may also be forced to pay child support.

Seek Advice from an Experienced Aurora Divorce Attorney

To some, marriage is just a piece of paper, but it offers so many rights and benefits. If you do decide to live together as a couple without marriage, make sure you understand your rights should you decide to split up or if a partner dies. The Aurora divorce attorneys at Divorce Matters can advise you on how you can protect yourself during the course of your relationship. To schedule a consultation, contact us at (720) 408-7469.


Is a Collaborative Divorce Right for Me?

A divorce does not always have to result in the courtroom drama. More and more couples are choosing to settle their differences outside of court and come to an agreement on key issues through a process called collaborative divorce.

A collaborative divorce is similar to mediation, with both parties looking to settle outside of court. Both parties are looking to reach a settlement on their own, rather than go through litigation. However, each party is represented by a lawyer, who is available to offer advice and helps the parties reach an agreement. If the process is not working, however, the lawyers must withdraw. The parties must then choose new lawyers and go through a traditional divorce.

A collaborative divorce is a good choice for couples who are willing to cooperate. However, divorce brings out heightened emotions, and if working together with your spouse doesn’t sound possible, a collaborative divorce probably may not work for you.

If you’re considering divorce, you may be wondering if a collaborative divorce is right for you. Read on to learn about the pros and cons.

Benefits of a Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce offers many benefits. It is quick since you and your spouse can control how long it will take and don’t need to wait for a court date.  It is more affordable than a traditional divorce since you will not need to pay court fees. It’s also efficient and more equitable since you and your spouse can decide on asset division and other terms. You can control the outcome and have an amicable divorce, which is a good idea if you have children and want to minimize the impact.

Disadvantages of a Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce is not for everyone. Most couples divorce because they cannot get along, so a collaborative divorce is unlikely to work. There is also the concern that in a collaborative divorce, cases of domestic violence, mental illness and substance abuse will go unnoticed. People in these categories are often unable to make sound decisions, so this could lead to one party receiving a greater share of the assets.  

In a collaborative divorce, both spouses must disclose all assets and debts. Many people hide larger assets so they cannot be split in a divorce, so this can be an issue. Both spouses also must work to communicate in an open and honest manner. However, a lack of honesty is often what leads spouses to divorce in the first place. A collaborative divorce requires you to work with””not against””your spouse, which is easier said than done.

Seek Advice from an Experienced Denver Collaborative Divorce Attorney

A collaborative divorce can be beneficial for many divorcing couples, but it’s not the ideal solution for everyone. The Denver collaborative law attorneys at Divorce Matters can determine if this solution is right for you. Collaborative law has its limits, but if you want to avoid going to court and feel that you and your spouse can agree on key issues, it may work for you. To learn more about the process and more about family law in Colorado, contact us at (720) 408-7469.

When Should I Get Divorced?

As experienced Denver divorce attorneys, one of the most common questions we hear from clients concerns the timing of their divorce. While this will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding your case, the following are ramifications you will want to consider.

The Best Time of Year to Get a Divorce

If you experience issues in your marriage such as a spouse’s alcohol or drug use and domestic violence, you may need to act quickly to protect your family’s safety and well being. If your breakup is more about long-simmering resentments or disagreements that have caused you to grow apart, giving thought to the timing of your divorce is a smart move.

Due to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax laws regarding filing status, January is often considered the best time for getting a divorce:

  • If you were separated or filed for divorce on December 31st or at any prior time during the year but your divorce was not finalized, you are considered as married for the entire year and can file a joint return.
  • If your divorce was finalized on December 31 or any time prior in the year, you are considered unmarried and are required to file as a single taxpayer.

Filing status can have a significant impact on taxes you may be required to pay or refunds you may be owed and is a common reason for timing a divorce.

Other Considerations in Timing Your Divorce

In addition to tax ramifications, there are other important issues to consider in deciding when to file for divorce. Under the Colorado Dissolution of Marriage Act (C.R.S. 14-10), couples must meet residency requirements, but since Colorado is a ”˜no fault’ state, the only grounds for divorce are irreconcilable differences.

While fault grounds such as adultery, habitual drunkenness, desertion, and mental cruelty do not impact your ability to get a divorce, they can have an effect on issues such as property division, child custody, and spousal support. Remaining married to a spouse who has engaged in these types of behaviors may be viewed as condonation, meaning that you either forgive your spouse or accept their acts. Other issues to consider in timing your divorce include:

  • Impact on children: If you have small children, you may be reluctant to separate over the holiday or during their school breaks. At the same time, custody issues due to a divorce during the school year could necessitate a change in school districts.  
  • Financial preparedness: Prior to filing for divorce, it is best to be financially prepared. In addition to finding housing that is affordable on one income, you will want to have your own bank accounts and lines of credit established, make copies of important documents, and conduct a thorough inventory of all marital property and assets.  

When determining when the time is right for you to seek a divorce, it is important to speak with an experienced Colorado divorce attorney. Call or contact Divorce Matters online and request a consultation today. Serving Denver and the surrounding areas, we provide the trusted legal advice you need to protect yourself and your family.

Divorcing a Narcissist

We all have heard of narcissists and some of us have probably dealt with one at some time or another. Unfortunately, some of us may be married to one, or maybe in the process of divorcing one.

Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be challenging. Narcissists are vain and think of themselves very highly. They are callous and do not care about the feelings of others. They are concerned primarily about themselves. They have a need for constant admiration as if they are a celebrity. They also feel entitled to everything and cannot handle criticism well.

So when you divorce the narcissist, be prepared to see your spouse portray himself or herself at the victim and you as the most horrible person in the world. While this portrayal will likely make you extremely upset, the worst thing you can do is react emotionally. Why? Because narcissists don’t care about the feelings of others. You’re just making things worse for yourself.

A narcissist will try to take the divorce all the way to court to let a judge decide. This seems like a poor strategy, but in the eyes of the narcissist, it’s better to have an unfavorable outcome when someone else has the control than to give up control unwillingly. This may not make sense at all, but that’s how the mind of a narcissist works.

Divorce Tips

So what can you do to avoid your spouse’s drama and get your divorce finalized quickly? Here are some suggestions:

  • Let your lawyer know about your narcissistic spouse. Most lawyers have experience dealing with this type of person, but if not, find someone who is. You need to have the right strategy.
  • Establish goals.What do you want to accomplish in the end? Determine what battles you want to fight, because some are small and not worth fighting.
  • Listen and ask questions. Don’t have preconceived ideas. Learn more about your spouse’s point of view and set reasonable expectations.
  • Document everything. Your spouse will tell lies. You can negate these lies by having receipts and other documents to back up your claims.
  • Be objective. Play devil’s advocate. What arguments will your spouse use against you to make you look like the bad guy? Think ahead so your lawyer can help you avoid hurting your case.
  • Be reasonable. Your spouse wants you to enrage you. Don’t let him or her do it. Don’t think with your feelings. Use law and facts to create an argument that is logical and reasonable.

Contact a Denver Divorce Attorney Today

Being married to a narcissist can be frustrating, but divorcing one can be even worse. Your spouse will try to manipulate you and refuse to settle outside of court. He or she will make your divorce a nightmare. Get help by contacting the family law professionals at Divorce Matters. We can help create an agreement that will allow you to settle outside of court without the drama. Request a consultation today by contacting Divorce Matters online or by calling (720) 463-1232.